Deadline Day recap and Looking Ahead to 2021
In such a short season, it is easy to identify quickly what is needed and where the team stands in regards to rankings. Some teams look at acquiring trade pieces to help them push towards the playoffs, but the Rangers looked at ways to off-load to look forward to 2021.
The Rangers haven’t got much to play for so made sense to move on some players with trade value.
The first to be traded was starting pitcher Mike Minor. This was for OF Marcus Smith and 3B Dustin Harris from the Oakland Athletics, who were both drafted in 2019. With Minor’s prorated salary of $9.83M and free agency pending, this made sense for all parties. Minor has the opportunity for a fresh start, the A’s get another starting pitcher and the Rangers save some money.
Minor saw a decrease in productivity in 2020, with a 5.60 ERA and a record of 0-5 from 7 starts. Although most of the Rangers’ starters have struggled, there was more emphasis on Minor due to his impressive 2019 campaign.
The players the Rangers received in return had decent starts in their pro ball careers. Marcus Smith, drafted in the 3rd round, hit .361/.466/.443 at AZL Athletics Gold with 7 XBH and 14 RBI. Dustin Harris, on the other hand, was drafted in the 11th round, hit .325/.403/.407 for AZL Athletics Green and Vermont Lake Monsters with 14 XBH and 26 RBI.
The Rangers then received a PTBNL in a pair of trades for Todd Frazier and Robinson Chirinos. Although we are yet to find out who these players are, it enabled the Rangers to reduce their salary output.
Todd Frazier leaves after playing the majority of the games this season due to Santana’s injury problems. He was at the Mets in 2018-19, so goes back to a place he knows well and gives them a further boost due to his versatility. His line of .241/.322/.380 was good for the Rangers.
Robinson Chirinos had an injury-hampered season and finished with a .119/.224/.143 line. This lack of productivity made it easy for Texas to move on, but if he can rediscover his form of the Astros then he could be a key figure for the Mets.
Looking Ahead to 2021
After off-loading 3 members of their roster, there is every possibility Lance Lynn, Joey Gallo, and Rougned Odor could follow suit in the off-season. There are also a few players pending free agency, these include:
There is also an option for Corey Kluber, so would be interesting to see whether the Rangers would pay the $18M needed to exercise the option. If they are planning a complete rebuild then they should get rid of him, but if it is a mini-rebuild then he would be good to utilize in 2021.
Whilst there are quite a few players that could go out heading into the 2021 season, there are plenty of players looking to become regular 40-man roster members. These include Sam Huff, Leody Taveras, Anderson Tejeda, and Eli White, as well as other top prospects such as Josh Jung, Cole Winn and Sherten Apostel.
How could the Rangers line-up in 2021?
C – Sam Huff
He has already made a handful of appearances in 2020, but with Chirinos leaving and Mathis up for free agency in the off-season, this could be the perfect time for him to make the step up to first choice catcher.
Other option: Jose Trevino
1B – Sherten Apostel
Another player that has made his Major League debut in 2020. With the ability to play either infield corner, he would be perfect to play 3B if needed, although his range may be more suited to 1B.
Other option: Ronald Guzman
2B – Justin Foscue
This one would be a bold call but the first round pick could certainly do a job in this position, as well as saving plenty of money but rading Odor away. He is part of the 60-an pool, so getting plenty of development at the Alternate Site.
Other option: Nick Solak
3B – Isiah Kiner-Falefa
An interesting one after this season. Signed as a catcher, he has quickly become accustomed to life at the hot corner and his bat has followed suit. Jung would be the alternative option but he isn’t quite ready for the step-up yet. Kiner-Falefa has more than proved his worth to be starting 3B in 2021.
Other option: Josh Jung
SS – Anderson Tejeda
Recently called-up again, he is starting to show a bit more composure at the plate and this bodes well moving forward into 2021. He also adds the threat of SBs to the team and moves well in the infield. With Andrus due a big chunk of money in 2021, there may be some temptation to move him on dependent on Tejeda’s development.
Other option: Elvis Andrus
OF – Leody Taveras
One of the more consistently started prospects, Taveras is doing well both offensively and defensively and seems to have become a regular in the side. He will need to add more to his game to become a better player but that will come with time and exposure.
OF – Eli White
Although he is yet to set the big leagues on fire, the versatile fielder is in the mold of Nick Solak and could prove to be a worthwhile addition if he finds the form that got him to the Majors in the first place.
OF – Nick Solak
Rounding off the outfielders is Mr. Versatile himself. He is starting to show more composure at the plate as well as being more consistent in hitting XBH, with the very realistic potential of double-digit doubles. For such a young side, a steady head and someone with decent experience Solak would be good to have in the outfield.
SP1 – Kyle Gibson
SP2 – Jordan Lyles
SP3 – Jonathan Hernandez
SP4 – Joe Palumbo
SP5 – Kyle Cody
There are plenty of options for roles as starting pitchers if the Rangers do go down the route of allowing Lynn to leave and not renewing Kluber’s deal. These are the young guys who could see their playing time extended to suit the needs of the organization in the short-term as they look to rebuild. With relievers such as DeMarcus Evans and Yerry Rodriguez around, there could be a young feel to the pitching staff for 2021.
This team is fairly inexperienced, and although it is highly unlikely, it could be the route to go down as the Rangers look to offload a few off the books and start again from afresh.